Trump regularly attacks the “fake news media” in general with his vitriolic tweets and speeches, but rarely targets one publication or outlet in particular.
His post is widely reported to be a response to a Times article published Tuesday, which detailed his alleged “two-year war on the investigations encircling him.”
In an earlier tweet, Trump claimed journalists “don’t even call asking for verification” about stories they are planning to publish about his administration ― a post which is also being interpreted as an attack on Times reporters.
Times reporter Maggie Haberman dismissed the claim during an interview with CNN’s “New Day,” however, as she noted how she’d sent several emails to the White House about the planned story “that went unanswered until yesterday.”
“We went through a detailed list of what we were planning on reporting,” she explained. “They chose not to engage and then afterwards the president acts surprised.”
“Now whether his aides are not telling him what we are looking at or whether this is a game and he knows what it is and he’s pretending that he doesn’t, I can’t read his mind,” she speculated. “We certainly followed normal reporting practices and went over it at length with both the White House and the Department of Justice.”
Haberman confirmed that Trump’s claim about writers not calling for verification was “not true.” “That’s a lie,” she said. “And I don’t know if he knows it’s a lie or whether he is telling himself ‘this is true,’ whether his staff doesn’t tell him we are reaching out, but I find it hard to believe that his staff didn’t brief him once again that this kind of a report was coming.”
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Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger released a lengthy statement on Wednesday in response to Trump’s attacks, saying that the phrase “enemy of the people” is “not just false, it’s dangerous.”
Trump’s anti-media rhetoric was blamed for the attack of a BBC cameraman at a rally the president held in El Paso, Texas, earlier this month. He had whipped the crowd up “into a frenzy against the media” ahead of the incident, per one reporter.
This story has been updated to reflect that New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger released a statement.